An average of 16 patients have died everyday for the past 13 years at civic-run Rajawadi Hospital due to poor medical services and crumbling infrastructure, principal opposition party in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the Congress, has alleged.
Of the total 55.75 lakh people admitted to the Ghatkopar-based hospital, a whopping 76,663 lost their lives, said Congress corporator Pravin Chheda on Friday at a meeting of the standing committee, claiming that the figures had been obtained under the Right to Information Act.
The revelations have triggered a slugfest between the opposition parties and the BJP-Shiv Sena combine. While the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena latched on to the Congress' claims, ruling parties supported the civic officials who said they would need to check the authenticity of the numbers.
According to Chheda, the shocking rate of mortality at the peripheral hospital is much higher than BMC-run facilities like Sion and BYL Nair hospitals. He said during the same period, Sion hospital treated 1.92 crore patients and saw 63,373 deaths. The corporator from Ghatkopar said Nair hospital admitted 33 lakh people in the past 13 years of whom 29,650 patients succumbed to their illnesses/traumas.
The numbers for Sion and Nair put the average daily mortality at 13 and 6, respectively.
"It is high time the BMC looked into the issue seriously. With such high mortality rate, it is clear that there is something wrong in the way the hospital is being managed. It is an important facility for people in the eastern suburbs," said Chheda.
He added that the quality of service must be improved by filling up the vacant posts and procuring proper equipment.
"This is really a worrying trend," said MNS' Kurla corporator Dilip Lande, supporting Chheda.
Even as the opposition members slammed the BMC over the baffling statistics, municipal authorities expressed doubts over the veracity of Chheda's claims. "I will need to check if these figures are true. The numbers claimed by the member are on higher side. So, we will have to dig into the details first," said additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh.
Chheda, who is also the spokesperson for his party's state wing, insisted that he had got the numbers under RTI from the dean of Rajawadi Hospital. "These are BMC figures. Let the civic body dig into them. I am firm on what I have said."
Backing the administration, the ruling combine too raised doubts over the hospital mortality figures. Trushna Vishwasrao, house leader in the civic body, said, "We would like to wait for the health department to come up a report before commenting in this regard."